Last week, Justin Jones and the New Brockton Gamecocks honored six-year old Bryce Caldwell and his family by donating $2,100 to the family.
Last December, Caldwell was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Potene Glyoma (DIPG), which is an inoperable brain tumor within his brain stem.
Jones and his family got to know the Caldwell family when Jones’ youngest son, Caleb, played little league baseball with Bryce. The Jones family knew all too well the struggles that they were going through.
“We got to meet them through little league,” Jones said. “We understand the struggles of having to battle childhood cancer. We’ve been there and done that with Kaleb.”
Kaleb Jones, who is now cancer-free, battled cancer when he was younger and the Gamecock family has raised money for cancer each year since Jones took over the New Brockton football program. This year, Jones knew exactly who the Gamecocks should raise money for.
“This year we knew a family that was in need and going through the struggles of childhood cancer,” Jones said. “So, it was easy for us. We know how it felt to have people reach out a helping hand, because people reached out to us when we were going through this. It was good to be able to give back and help someone else.”
New Brockton High School spent all of September raising money for the family with “Buckets for Bryce” at home games.
“It was so great seeing people’s generosity,” Jones said. “We hear so much about all the negativity all of the time, it was pretty special to see so many people donating to this cause. Not just New Brockton folks but teams and communities that we played also donated.
“To see the generosity of all these people was special. Knowing how many young children and families this disease effects, it was really cool to see the outpouring from people because you don’t hear about that side a lot.”
Along with donating the money to the Caldwell family, Bryce also got a chance to dress out in a New Brockton Gamecocks uniform and play with the Gamecock players.
“When he came out to practice last week he just got a chance to smile,” Jones said. “He got to hang out with some guys and throw the football around and just be able to smile. For our community and our team to be a part of that means a lot to them and helps them understand that this game we get to play and coach goes way beyond just being a game.”